Russian weather service confirms 'extremely high' radiation release

Russia denies nuclear leak after reports of radioactive pollution

However, on Tuesday, Russia's Meteorological Service confirmed that it recorded "extremely high contamination" with radioactive isotopes in the southern Urals region at the end of September.

Its Mayak facility, where an explosion in 1957 contaminated a swath of central Russian Federation, told state news agency RIA Novosti it had not processed nuclear fuel with ruthenium-106 this year.

But a representative of Rosatom nuclear corporation told AFP "there have been no incidents at nuclear infrastructure facilities in Russian Federation", adding that the concentration detected posed little threat.

The Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety reported the cloud of radioactive isotopes had posed no health hazards but that if a similar spike in radiation occurred in Europe, the responsible government would likely have ordered a local evacuation.

It said it was not the source of the increased level of ruthenium-106, while Rosatom said there were no accidents at any of its facilities.

Russia's meteorological service said on Tuesday it had measured pollution by a radioactive isotope at almost 1,000 times normal levels in the Ural Mountains, the first confirmation by officials there that an accident could have taken place.

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The reported findings from Russian Federation appear to confirm reports from Europe earlier this month that a cloud containing the radioisotope Ru-106 drifted over Europe last month, which European meteorological agencies had said likely originated in either the southeastern Urals region of Russian Federation or Kazakhstan, RFE/RL wrote. It said the isotope was detected in Tatarstan and southern Russian Federation, and eventually reached "all European countries starting in Italy and toward the north of Europe" by late September. It is also used in certain medical treatments.

At Beacon, in turn, argue that the release of ruthenium-106 are irrelevant and stated that after checking his background radiation did not reveal any abnormalities.

Greenpeace Russia has said it will ask the prosecutor general to investigate the possible cover-up of a nuclear accident.

According to Greenpeace, which has now called for an in-depth investigation into the latest incident, the Mayak plant still serves as a reprocessing site for nuclear fuel.

Responding to accusations local authorities had covered up the leak, Yevgeny Savchenko, the Chelyabinsk region public safety minister, said "fluctuations in background radiation" had not reached risky levels and thus "there was no basis for protective measures". It does not occur naturally.

It said that the source of the pollution was probably an accident somewhere between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains, adding that the concentrations measured in Europe were not a danger to public health.

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